The Maelstrom-class battle cruiser was a class of battle cruiser in the proto–Star Destroyer family of starships manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards. The vessel was armed with heavy cannons, assault concussion missile launchers, and other weaponry. It was capable of serving planetary siege and bombardment duties, as well as fleet command, carrier duties, and anti–space station operations.
The Maelstrom was introduced early during the Clone Wars and was deployed by the Republic Navy as their largest capital ship at the time. Despite the ship's design, only a select few of the cruisers witnessed any action during the war due to high maintenance and operation costs. The lead ship of the class, the Maelstrom, saw action under Jedi General Darrus Jeht during the war. Following the rise of the Galactic Empire, the remaining Maelstroms in Imperial Navy service were eventually mothballed and discarded. However, at least one, the Simoom, came under ownership of the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War against the Empire.
Belonging to the dagger-shaped proto–Star Destroyer family of starships such as the Venator-class Star Destroyer and the Acclamator-class assault ship, the Maelstrom-class battle cruiser was manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards at a cost of 158,000,000 credits per unit and was larger than a Venator. The Maelstroms were designed to inspire awe in allies as much as they were designed to instill fear in enemies. Long and thin, the battle cruisers were considered to be massive and imposing, possessing a thick and a heavily armored cranked delta hull. Graceful twin command suites were positioned over the main sublight engines at the aft.
The Maelstrom-class boasted a formidable armament and complement of starfighters and ground forces. To fulfill their planetary bombardment role, the battle cruiser carried a large amount of firepower. The showpiece of the cruiser's armament was the ten ventral retractable quad-barrel heavy assault concussion missile launchers, which were used for planetary bombardments and anti–space station capabilities. Maelstrom-class battle cruisers were mounted with ten port and ten starboard multi-barrel heavy turbolaser batteries in both broadside turrets and fixed forward emplacements.
The cruisers were additionally equipped with ten ventral battleship ion cannons and used smaller, lighter armaments for anti-starfighter and anti-gunboat fire against vessels that infiltrated through its fighter screen. The smaller armaments consisted of ten port and ten starboard medium ion cannons as well as ten port, ten starboard, and ten forward-mounted proton torpedo launchers. The ship's armament also included twenty ventral medium tractor beam projectors and ten ventral heavy tractor beam projectors.
Equipment and complement
Each Maelstrom had a long-ranged sensor and powerful deflector shields, and was furnished with a sophisticated command and control system that gave their commander a near-limitless view of the theater of command. The cruiser was equipped with sublight engines that were used in conjunction with a class 3 primary hyperdrive and a class 15 as a backup. For navigation, it was equipped with a navigation computer and could hold enough consumables to last two years.
The battle cruiser was staffed by 45,000 officers, pilots, and enlisted crew. In addition, it could accommodate 15,000 troops and support staff, as well as their weapons, vehicles, and assorted gear. The ship carried a complement of numerous assault ships, gunboats, landing craft, shuttles, and an entire fighter wing of 120 starfighters with their attendant support staff and facilities, although standard specifications were ninety-six starfighters.
The Maelstrom-class battle cruiser was optimized for fleet command duties, fleet carrier responsibilities, and planetary siege and bombardment capabilities. It was additionally able to carry out anti–space station operations, being able to fulfill its roles well due to its design.
Produced at the onset of the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems in 22 BBY, the Maelstrom-class battle cruiser was the largest vessel in the Republic Navy at the time of its introduction. Despite its design, the battle cruiser proved unpopular and was phased out toward the final stage of the war in favor of newer and faster ships, such as the Victory-class Star Destroyer. Additionally, the Maelstrom-class was rarely deployed in its planned roles, despite its power, as it required vast resources to maintain and was too expensive to operate.
The lead ship of the class, the Maelstrom, served with distinction at the Battle of Kromus and later the Battle of Cularin, where it was under the command of Jedi General Darrus Jeht, although most of the other ships of the class never partook in combat. Once the Clone Wars ended in 19 BBY and the Republic transitioned into the Galactic Empire, the Imperial Navy was reorganized and the Maelstrom-class battle cruisers that remained in service were eventually mothballed, utilized as test beds, or broken up. By the time of the Galactic Civil War between the Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a handful of the mothballed ships still remained, with at least one of them, the Simoom, serving in the Alliance Navy.
Behind the scenes
The Maelstrom-class battle cruiser was introduced in the new Star Wars canon in the 2016 Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars: Age of Rebellion roleplaying game sourcebook, Lead by Example. The Maelstrom-class battle cruiser first appeared in the Star Wars Legends continuity in the short story "Marching Orders," written by August Hahn and Cynthia Hahn and released on Wizards of the Coast's website on July 27, 2005 as part of the Living Force roleplaying campaign.
- Lead by Example (First mentioned)
Notes and references
- Lead by Example
- Lead by Example establishes that the Maelstrom-class battle cruiser was the largest capital ship of the Galactic Republic Navy at the onset of the Clone Wars. As such, it must be larger than the Venator-class Star Destroyer, which Rise of the Separatists establishes as a Republic Navy capital ship that served at the onset of the war.
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas